Fujiwara no Chifuru (藤原千古)

FUJIWARA no Chifuru (also known as Chiko, years of birth and death unknown) was a daughter of Udaijin (Minister of the Right) FUJIWARA no Sanesuke from the Heian period. Although it is not known who her mother was, it is said that she was the daughter of the wet-nurse of her younger half-brother, MINAMOTO no Yorisada.


Her year of birth is not known for sure, but since her chakumo, or Coming of Age ceremony for female nobilities which took place around the age of 14 at that time, was held on January 21, 1025, it is estimated that she was born around 1011.

Her father, Sanesuke, was born in 957, meaning he was over 50 when his long awaited daughter was born, and as such he doted on her enormously. According to "Okagami" (The Great Mirror), he is said to have given her the nickname 'Kaguya Hime' (Lady Kaguya). Also, on January 12, 1020, he drew up a will, leaving almost all his property, including the manor that had been passed down in the Ononomiya family, to Chifuru and proclaimed that 'no child, whether he is a priest or a common person, can change this,' leaving almost nothing to his adopted heir and nephew, FUJIWARA no Sukehira, or his illegitimate son, Ryoen, a priest of the Buddhist Tendai sect.

Sanesuke hoped Chifuru would become the Emperor's wife, but FUJIWARA no Michinaga and his son, Yorimichi, while outwardly respectful to Sanesuke, feared an increase in Sanesuke's political power and so blocked Chifuru's entry into court. After that, Sanesuke tried to have Michinaga's son, FUJIWARA no Nagaie, whose wife had died, take Chifuru as his second wife and although Michinaga accepted, the engagement was broken off because Nagaie was against it. After that, according to the "Eiga monogatari" (A Tale of Flowering Fortunes), Chifuru is said to have married FUJIWARA no Kaneyori, FUJIWARA no Yorimune's son and a grandson of Michinaga. She gave birth to Kaneyori's child, ONONOMIYA no Niko, but died before her father Sanesuke in around 1038. As a result, most of the property of the Ononomiya line, which was the biggest competitor to Michinaga's Kujo line, passed to the Kujo line (or to be precise, Michinaga's Mido line), and the Ononomiya line, having lost their financial foundation, fell into ruin and had almost disappeared by the period of cloistered rule.

[Original Japanese]